Caxton first issued the Golden Legend in either late 1483 or early 1484. Sometime thereafter, and possibly as late as 1487, much of the type was reset and many sheets were reprinted. Blades and Duff consider the partially reprinted copies to represent a separate, though not easily discernible edition. George Painter, in his biography of Caxton, posits that this "second" edition was a simple reprinting of 256 out of the original 448 leaves, made to supplement an incomplete lot of remainder stock. Because this reissue contained both reprinted and original sheets, and because so many extant copies have been perfected by subsequent owners, it is difficult to definitively differentiate the so-called editions, or to ascribe any particular copy to either of them.
Gatherings a–t and A–E exist in one setting only; the remaining gatherings exist in two different settings. Setting A: [*]⁶ a–z⁸ [et]⁸ [con]⁶ A–V⁸ X⁶ Y² [**]²⁻¹ aa–ff⁸ gg⁶ hh-ii⁸ kk⁶. Setting B: [*]⁴ a–z⁸ [et]⁸ [con]⁶ A–X⁸ aa–ff⁸ gg⁶ hh-ii⁸ kk⁶.
Royal folio; printed in double columns, 55 lines per column; initial spaces with guide letters.
Catalogue of books printed in the fifteenth century now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, J-068
Duff, E.G. William Caxton, 408, 409
English short title catalogue, S541, S123156
Goff, F.R. Incunabula in American libraries, J-148, J-149
Incunabula short title catalogue ij00148000
Ricci, S. de. A census of Caxtons, 98-17
Boston Public Library (Rare Books Department) copy Q.402.45 FOLIO imperfect: leaves -, i-xiii, Cv-Cvii, CCxii, CCCCxl, CCCCxliii-CCCCxliv, and the final blank leaf wanting. 27 leaves remargined and possibly inserted from another copy or copies, with losses to text and headlines replaced in pen facsimile (xiiii-xxxii, Clxv-Clxvi, Clxxxxvi-clxxxxvii, CCxiii, CCCxi, CCClxxxxiiii, and CCCCxxi)
Boston Public Library (Rare Books Department) copy Q.402.45 FOLIO bound by Whittingham, of Southwell, in brown goatskin paneled and tooled in blind. Spine paneled and tooled in blind with title stamped in gilt. All text block edges gilt. Armorial bookplate of John Towneley and bookplate of Aldenham House on front pastedown. Autograph of Henry Hucks Gibbs on front flyleaf recto, with pencil inscription tracing this copy to the sale of John Dunn Gardner on verso. Rubricated in red throughout. Early marginalia, in various hands. Leaf dimensions: 344 x 228 mm. Purchased from A.S.W. Rosenbach in April, 1941. For further description, see: More Books/BPL Quarterly, vol. XVI (1941) pp. 253-260
Some Text loss due to tight margins. No title page found. No copyright page found. No table-of-contents pages found.